Commuters were able to cruise over the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue on their way to work this morning, as the Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the road at 12:15 a.m.
The city of Surprise hosted a pre-celebration on Monday in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot to officially kick-off the 2016 Holiday Season and to thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road.
“To the customers that continued to shop these businesses, thank you for realizing that they were ALWAYS open and for supporting them,” said Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “And to those that took a different commute during the closure, I invite you to come back to this area. No more stopping for the train and three new businesses have opened since the closure began in April, with two others opening this fall. Come check them out!”
Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce also spoke at the event that was attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses.
As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!
The Bell Road closure was part of the ADOT US 60 (Grand Ave) and Bell Road Interchange project which began in January 2016. By closing Bell for 7 months, construction delays were avoided during two Spring Training Seasons and this year’s holiday shopping season.
The entire Bell-Grand project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.
On January 15, the Arizona State Transportation Board approved Coffman Specialties Inc.’s proposal to build the Bell Road bridge. Bell Road/Grand Avenue will be a Median Urban Diamond traffic interchange with Bell Road traveling over Grand Avenue and the railroad tracks. This project is utilizing the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work hand in hand with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways.
Work to relocate utilities near the intersection will require varied daytime and nighttime restrictions on Bell Road now through the month of February. The nighttime work will extend through March. Additional work in the area includes drilling for soil samples related to construction. To lessen the impact on drive-time commutes, daytime work will be limited between the hours of 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Evening work will be conducted from 9 pm until 5 am. Every effort is being made for relocation work to occur mostly during overnight hours.
The overall construction timeline for this project is 14 months with final completion scheduled in spring 2017. Construction on Grand Avenue is scheduled to begin January 29. Drivers can expect Grand Avenue narrowed to two lanes in each direction from Towne Center to Bell Grande.
The full closure of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway is scheduled to begin on April 1, after spring training. Bell Road will be entirely closed for up to 8 months to accommodate construction of the bridge.
Once the Bell Road closure begins, 134th Drive will become a cul-de-sac but a new 134th Avenue (from Bell Road) will be created. Access to the businesses in this particular area will be possible during construction off of Dysart Road, until the new 134th Avenue is completed. West Point Parkway will be the main access point for Surprise Marketplace and Surprise Towne Center traveling east on Bell Road. Business access points will also be available via Grand Avenue as well.
This full closure allows the contractor to complete the work more quickly, improves safety for construction workers and motorists, and minimizes traffic impacts during peak travel. ADOT’s project team expects to reopen Bell Road to traffic in time for the holiday shopping season in November 2016. While not all of the work will be completed by that time, reopening Bell Road will allow improved access to businesses in the area.
Any necessary closures of Grand Avenue will primarily be scheduled at night or on weekends. Construction along the Grand Avenue median will set the stage for the addition of the median on- and off-ramps that will connect to the new Bell Road overpass. Most of that heavy construction will conclude by late this year, although drivers can expect restrictions along Grand Avenue through the project’s completion next spring. The work will be done in stages, with the initial work focusing on the center median area and the ramp construction. Later in the schedule, traffic will be switched toward the median to allow construction of the Grand Avenue “through lanes” in the area.
When the full closure of Bell Road is put in place, the primary north-south detour routes will be Dysart Road (east of Grand Avenue) and Litchfield Road (west of Grand Avenue), with Greenway Road serving as the primary east-west detour route. “Soft” closures of Bell Road will be in place at Dysart and Litchfield roads, while local traffic will still be able to travel as far as 134th Avenue on the east side of Grand Avenue and to West Point Parkway west of Grand Avenue.
A detour map is provided for you below as well as the project contact information for ADOT.
ADOT, in partnership with the city, will always work to inform the public about planned project restrictions, however, there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur.
For more information on this project, please visit azdot.gov/bellandgrand and sign up to receive email updates at azdot.gov. ADOT has set-up a hotline at this project as well (1.855.712.8530).